cover image Midnight Rambles: H.P. Lovecraft in Gotham

Midnight Rambles: H.P. Lovecraft in Gotham

David J. Goodwin. Empire State Editions, $29.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5315-0441-0

Goodwin (Left Bank of the Hudson), assistant director of Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture, offers a meticulous chronicle of Lovecraft’s time living in New York City from 1924 to 1926. A scion of the “Yankee aristocracy” of Providence, R.I., the horror writer met milliner Sonia H. Greene during a visit to New York City in 1922, and the two struck up a correspondence that led Lovecraft to move to the city two years later to marry her. According to Goodwin, Lovecraft spent most of his time in New York struggling to get by; his “failure or unwillingness to secure even minimal employment” led to financial strain (he received little recognition or recompense for his writing during his lifetime) and caused Greene to take a job in Cincinnati in December 1924, effectively ending their marriage. Goodwin doesn’t pull punches when discussing Lovecraft’s bigotry, noting that much of the writer’s distaste for the city stemmed from his “nativist, anti-Semitic, and racist beliefs,” which put him at odds with the diversifying metropolis. Goodwin builds his scrupulous account on a thorough reading of Lovecraft’s letters and diaries, and the unsparing portrait that emerges, while unflattering, offers keen insight into his character. Lovecraft scholars will want to take a look. (Nov.)